Lessons Of NFL Refs
With all of the things going on in the world, I was shocked to hear the furious public reaction to a replacement referee’s call during a professional football game on television.
Could it be that professional sports have become a dominant concern of the American people?
Or is this a story about entertainment, a labor dispute or gambling?
Or all of the above?
At the heart of the controversy is the fact that the game was being played on national television and judged by millions of fans worldwide.
As we know now, millions of dollars were being bet on the game, and the game-winning “Hail Mary”reception cost the gambling public more than $500 million because of its effect on the point spread.
It’s been a while since the National Football League and its commissioner acted so quickly to replace replacement officials. NFL coaches were fined huge sums of money for saying unprofessional things about the expertise level of the substitute referees.
This could be a teachable moment for educators and business leaders everywhere. A good way to outrage the public and get their attention is with a controversial call by a group of incompetent referees.
That one decision attracted almost instant comments by the two presidential candidates. Would they have done the same thing if the game had been between the Lions and the Titans? Not likely. Both candidates were scheduled to campaign in Wisconsin the next week, and to side with Seattle would have been silly politics.
One thing is for sure, the controversy made for great television ratings, and that’s not something lost on advertisers and union leaders, who for years have been tying television ratings and name recognition to salaries.
It’s a good bet that the next time the referees negotiate a contract they will be treated much differently by the NFL.
It’s not just a game anymore.